When you are Indigenous to the land, you can never be removed from it. You can be shifted. Attempts will be made to erase traces and memories of your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional presence. However, you can never truly be taken from it. There may be temporary distancing. There may even be man-made boundaries, which limits your communal presence in a particular spacing. However, you are always connected. There is nothing, which can divide that. Such is the way of Native people. They are the whispers and traces of Native woman, in her land!
In the wake of recent events in the United States, Black American, and Black American women, have demanded to be heard. Refusing our pain and the blatant devalue of very existence to be ignored. And yet, this land continues to, whisper. For the Native daughters of US soiling, too, have demanded that they will no longer be painted as the “invisible minority.” The cries of their missing mothers, maidens, and daughters wails throughout US winds. They will not be forgotten. Singing the tales of Native greatness into the hearts of Native daughters, residing in the United States of America.
In the wake of recent events, and the climax taking place, the frightening stories of the disappearance of Native women have been known within various Native communities, cultures, and tribes. Yes! In case you didn’t know, Native people are not a monolithic group. The richness of different cultures continues to thrive! They never really left. If they happen to have gone, they re-birthed themselves, through another way. Of course, that’s for another story! Yet, these realities of missing, Native women have been happening for a long time. They were not reported on major, US media platforms. In fact, they have become so common that authority figures do not heed, as reports are not even compiled for documentation. What is going on? What has been going on? And, why were they silent?
During this time, Native women are re-claiming their vigilance for mainstream eyes. Victories of two Native women (Deb Haaland from New Mexico of the Pueblo of Laguna and Sharice Davids of the Ho-Chunk nation of Wisconsin) securing US congressional seats in 2018, are just one of many feats. We can converse upon the presence of Native women as judges, doctors, surgeons, and countless other professional accomplishments. And then, there is another. That is the very artistry of vigilance, itself. I don’t simply mean based on accomplishments, careers, and celebrated modes of success. Those are fine, but there is something more. It is the celebration of Native women in their cultures, femininity, and how they have articulated the realm of womanhood. Sacred rituals, traditions of their foremothers, and the visibility of themselves, before they became a “minority.” In actuality, that term is an insult. How can you become minor in a land, where you were, THE FIRST?
The world of photography carries many stories. In fact, the texture and crafting of certain pictures ensures that an observer remembers them. Yes. In today’s modern era, Native people wear “regular clothes,” like most US citizens. Part of respecting Native communities is to erase what we think we shall see, once entering into Native lands. Allow age-old stereotypes to fade for a bit. Keep in mind that wearing feathers in one’s hair is not prescribed for every Native culture, or person. Yet, what makes the wearing, crafting, and capturing of Native women-dressed in their cultural and modern attire-is that it showcases how they have managed to bring the way of their foremothers and forefathers into the current era. In fact, the myriad styles of Native attire illuminates the magic of the community. It is more appeasing, and reminds Native communities, that Native culture (in all of its authenticity) is wellness medicine. It is the natural counselor and psychologist. Furthermore, it is the solution to combating depression and any battle with mental health within Native territories.
When Native women rise, there is a silent rumble in the terrain of this particular soiling. Clothing themselves in tradition, they are making several statements. One of them is that they are not gone. You can not, and will not, erase them into a distant memory, when tradition never left. Wearing tradition does not mean they are stuck in the past. No. They simply brought time to the present era. That’s fine and it is beautiful! In fact, its the natural way!
As I ponder and reflect upon my interaction with Native women, I have felt a sense of familiarity. They truly perform, and live, in the way of natural women! They move and carry their imaginations in the naturalness of time. Any anger, pain, suffering, or mental instabilities performed by Native women in the community is not a sign of “something being wrong with them.” Something is wrong, and its not them! In spite of, numerous Native women live their lives. Concerning their humanity and womanhood, if they are saddened or angered, by something, think about it. Go deeper! How would you feel to be a woman of the land, only for artificial provisions to be made in your connection to it? That’s the blessing of Native women to US soiling. They remind us that there is a natural way for us to thrive on this land. Its a way where we are not ruling over, or having dominion over the Earth’s existence. On the contrary, we understanding our connection to her. After all, it is we who depend on her!
So, rise Native woman! Thrive in the way of your authentic knowing. Your wisdom is worth glowing. It is priceless for those, understanding its prize. A natural timing in realigning our bodies to the love, and magnitude of paradise’s nurture. A nurture we understand when we treat her waters with care, massage her soiling for abundance, and stand back in awe to observe how beautiful she mirrors our natural movements, and reflections in her womb! Rise Native daughters! Re-birth, Native mothers! Speak your lives for those who are living, and those rising, before!
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